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Sabine County Texas

Sabine County, is in East Texas on the Sabine River at the border of Texas and Louisiana, 140 miles northeast of Houston. An original Texas county which was named for the Sabine River, it is 546 square miles in the Redlands region, and is covered with longleaf pine, oak, and hickory forests.

Original land grants from Spain and Mexico took up 220,000 acres; the largest, made to Juan Ignacio Pifermo in 1794, encompassed 17,713 acres near the site of later Geneva. Other settlers in the 1790s included Jack Cedars, Christobal Concha, and David Watman. Cedars, who lived on part of the Pifermo grant, was the first Anglo settler in the region. Concha is thought to have lived along Palo Gaucho Bayou, and Watman settled on Patroon Bayou

A ferry across the Sabine River was established in the northern part of what became Sabine County. This ferry is thought to have been called El Paso de Chalan until 1796, when Michael Crow established Crow's Ferry. It operated until 1812, when it was purchased by James Gaines and renamed Gaines Ferry. Gaines served as alcalde of the Sabine District of the Municipality of Nacogdoches in 1824. Other settlers at this time included Donald McDonald, James Hines, Isaac Lindsey, and Elbert Hines, who was alcalde of the Sabine District in 1826.

With the aid of Gaines Ferry, communities began to develop in the region. Gaines' Ferry shuttled horses, wagons and settlers across the river at Pendleton. Today, at the same site, a modern three-mile bridge stretches across Toledo Bend Reservoir. In 1828, the town of Milam was founded in the northern part of the future Sabine County area.

Shortly before Texas won its independence from Mexico, the county became a port of entry for new settlers arriving from the United States. After the victory at the battle of San Jacinto in 1836, the government of the Republic of Texas began to organize. The government formed Sabine County and defined its boundaries on December 14, 1837, Sabine County boundaries have remained unchanged since its creation; however, when the area was known as the Municipality of Sabine, it included parts of present-day San Augustine, Jasper and Newton Counties.

The county seat was named Hemphill, in honor of John Hemphill, a former Texas Supreme Court Justice, who at the time, served as a United States Senator. The old Sabine County Jail, built in 1904 was used until 1982. It is one of two jails in Texas that had a hanging rope. The old jail is now a museum and library. On the corner of the Sabine County Courthouse square domino players regularly gather beneath an ancient cedar tree.
[Matthew Hayes Nall, "SABINE COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online; Published by the Texas State Historical Association]

Founded:  1837
County Seat:  Hemphill

Photo by Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 4.0.


* Geneva * Hemphill * Isla * Pineland * Bronson * Brookeland * Fairmount * Geneva * Isla * Milam * Rosevine * Sexton * Yellowpine * Bayou * East Mayfield * Fairdale * Gravehill * Pendleton * Plainview * Sabinetown * Tebo * Time * Vesta

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Online Data
Probate Records
Website Updates:
Apr 2018: Crime News: SELF, CHANCE
Dec 2017: Website updated and pages are mobile friendly
Jun 2017: County Records: 1900 Fugitives from Justice
Sept 2016: Visiting News: NASH, GRIFFIN, CARTER, RICHEY, PORTER, REESE; Sick List News: CAIN
Jun 2016: County Records: 1916 County Officers

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Surrounding Counties

Shelby County (north)

Sabine Parish, Louisiana (east)

Newton County (south)

Jasper County (southwest)

San Augustine (west) 

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